Sunday, December 2, 2007

CREATIVITY GONE WILD - December 1, 2007

If your family is anything like ours, I bet you still have a few Thanksgiving leftovers in your frig. This year our son Matt, and his wife Kristy, hosted Thanksgiving dinner and we had the usual fare, plus all sorts of other nontraditional concoctions. Matt, it turns out, did not inherit his mother’s “I HATE to cook” gene and is a wonderful gourmet chef. He created some dishes that would have made Squanto proud! All I had to do all day was rock baby Evan—with occasional breaks to dine and “piece.”

So what do you do with Thanksgiving dinner leftovers? I’ve come up with a list of ways to entertain Evan in the years to come, utilizing—what else—leftovers:

A “Keeping Kids Entertained While All the Adults Fall Asleep Watching Football” List

Wondering what to do with all those leftovers? Unleash your child’s creativity:

1. Turkey leg: create a “tom-tom” with a pie plate and used turkey leg as drumstick (pun intended).

2. Cranberry sauce: great for finger painting; CAUTION: do not use in the vicinity of white carpet or anything else you do not wish to look like it has chicken pox.

3. Mashed potatoes and gravy: another great medium for finger painting; chilled mashed potatoes are great for creating snowmen, igloos, and other wintertime wonder ; or roll out like cookie dough, cut into heart shapes, paint with cranberry sauce, freeze, and serve to parents on Valentine’s Day.

4. Grandma’s Famous Oyster Dressing: form into mushy balls, insert a wire or string hanger, hang up and allow to dry overnight; hang outside for the wildlife to dine on; or play “find the oysters,” and whoever finds the most, wins an “I do not have to eat this yucky, slimy, disgusting dressing” coupon for Thanksgiving dinner 2008.

5. Green bean casserole with mushrooms, water chestnuts, almonds and French’s Fried Onions: rinse beans thoroughly with hot water and wash in soapy water; dispose of all non-green-bean thingies (if you can’t stand to touch mushrooms, get an adult to do this for you); allow to dry for a couple of hours; string on yarn and create necklaces and bracelets; great as Christmas gifts for Mom, Grandma and teachers; best if given ASAP, before shriveling occurs.

6. Sweet potatoes: for leftover raw sweet potatoes, use for a lively game of “toss the potato” – preferably outside; for cooked sweet potatoes, mash with hands and use for finger painting.

7. Rolls: play “How many rolls can you stuff in your mouth at one time without gagging.”

8. Aunt Edith’s mystery gelatin salad: play “name that item” or create silly names for the ridiculous things—like carrots and celery—suspended in the Jell-O.

9. Carrot and celery sticks: throw away—they’re inedible and useless! (Well, I suppose you could use them for finger painting…).

10. Pumpkin pie and Cool Whip: also great for finger painting; may substitute RediWip or genuine whipped cream; if you really want to be cool, have a pie eating contest—no utensils allowed and messiest face wins. WARNING: under no circumstances should you give a pie in the face to one of your relatives sleeping in front of the TV. (If you are between the ages of nine and eleven, you will be unable to heed this warning.)

Almost all silliness aside, I think there is a lot that we can learn from the creativity of kids. Who says that God only created yams and green beans for eating? I live in soybean country and it wasn’t until my daughter lived in San Diego that I learn that people actually eat soy beans as beans (versus a reconstituted additive used in tires, diapers, and wallpaper paste—please don’t quote me on this)! Just because your idea of a perfect afternoon is a tryptophan-induced stupor doesn’t mean your kids can’t have a good time, too!

I believe that God wants us to experience life in all its richness—and most of us would do well to play with our food rather than let all that richness go to our hips.

They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. Psalm 36:8 NIV

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